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E-M:/ FreePress Editorial on Jefford's National Bottle bill

Enviro-Mich message from "Pete Pasterz" <ppasterz@pplant.msu.edu>

June 24, 3003.  A letter submitted to the editor by
Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI) follows the editorial.

			Bottle Opener

National deposit will finally get chance in Congress

Michigan's 26-year-old bottle return law has worked so well to
reduce litter and reuse resources it's hard to believe we're
one of only 10 states to have one.

But U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, has vowed to give a
national bottle bill its first thorough public legislative
hearing in a decade in the Senate's Environment and Public
Works Committee, which he chairs.

It's about time.

More than 114 billion beverage containers were thrown away
rather than recycled in 1999, a 50-percent increase in bottle
and can waste since 1992, according to the Container Recycling

Efforts to create a national container deposit law have
traditionally been thwarted by special interests -- bottlers,
distributors and retailers. This despite the fact that more
bottles and cans are recycled in the 10 states with deposits
than in the 40 without.

Jeffords' initiative would mandate a 10-cent deposit and a
target of 80 percent recycling of bottles and cans, leaving
the details up to industry.

It faces a huge uphill fight.

But even if it never leaves committee after its July 11
hearing, the bill will again establish a public dialogue on
an issue that -- if common sense were the only consideration
-- would be a no-brainer.

Congress hasn't had a bona fide deposit-law champion since
the untimely passing of west Michigan Congressman Paul Henry
in 1993.

Henry would be proud to see the delegation from Michigan
coalesce behind Jeffords' bill.

He'd also be proud if Michigan legislators found the courage
to buck business opposition to adding juice, water and wine
cooler containers to Michigan's return law.

Four of the five major-party candidates for governor --
Republican Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus is the lone dissenter --
support such a change. Voters should demand their legislative
candidates do likewise.

                                 June 24, 2002

Mr. Ron Dzwonkowski
Editor, Editorial Page
Detroit Free Press
600 W Fort
Detroit, MI  48226

Dear Mr. Dzwonkowski:

I read with interest your June 24th editorial on a national bottle bill
that includes juice, water and wine cooler containers.

Funny you should mention it....   I have just such a bill -  H.R. 1667 -
The National Beverage Container Reuse and Recycle Act of 2001.  I introduced
this legislation last year, at the start of the 107th Congress, as I have in
each Congress since 1997.

H.R. 1667 is closely modeled on Michigan's successful bottle bill and
places a 10-cent refund value on all beverage containers, including beer,
juice, juice drinks, tea, coffee, sports drinks, soda water, wine coolers
carbonated soft drinks.

Senator Jeffords, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
has introduced his bill in the Senate. In the House, I have nine cosponsors
HR 1667, including four from the Michigan delegation. I  appreciate the Free
Press' advocacy on this  issue and recongnize that increasing public
of Michigan's success with our bottle bill is the way to promote national
bottle legislation.

Lynn N. Rivers


Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL:   703.276.9800
FAX:   703.276.9587
EMAIL: pfranklin@container-recycling.org 



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